Superfast car charging stations sprout up in Twin Cities

Original article from the Washington Times.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A metallic monolith appeared outside Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul late last year, as if sent from outer space. Aliens had nothing to do with the hulking apparition - but it did have a powerful purpose.

The Summit-University congregation, which prides itself on being eco-friendly as part of its spirituality, has become a public electric-car charging location. In fact, this church is now one of eight such places in or near the Twin Cities with a new and superfast (albeit monolithic) battery-charging station.


This is a big deal for electric-car drivers, who would normally have to wait hours at slower charging stations to get a meaningful battery charge - maybe synchronizing work or nearby errands with the charging time.

But at Unity Church, electric-car owners can swoop into the parking lot, jack the vehicles into the monolith and sip Guatemalan coffee in the church for roughly 20 to 30 minutes while their batteries get replenished. Still admittedly longer than a stop at the gas pump, it fills a need for those who choose to drive electric.

The technology helps defeat so-called “range anxiety,” the mental anguish that out-and-about electric-car owners feel as their batteries run low. And Unity Church members feel a surge of pride about helping to fulfill their spiritual goal.

“This is part of the church’s mission, to honor the web of existence, and to walk softly on the Earth,” Dale Howey, a Unity Church member and eco-conscious Minneapolis landlord, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.


Matthew Blackler